Monday, December 22, 2008

You can't put a price on joy.

After a hectic couple of weeks running around Christmas shopping, I was starting to feel worn down by the holiday more than anything else. Saturday seemed far removed from that, however. On that day, a special group of people gathered at Steve Rex Cycles to have a raffle for not just one but two of Steve's custom hand-made bikes.

Steve was badly injured last month on the River Ride, suffering a horribly fractured hip and elbow, an especially terrible thing for someone who makes a living on his feet. To make maters worse, his teenage daughter tripped into a campfire, getting 2nd degree burns on her arms. Dave Burke of Rio Strada Racing got a great idea a few weeks ago to have a raffle for one of Steve's bikes. The idea was to sell tickets for $10 a pop. Anything in excess of the $2500 grand prize would go to the family. He had no idea how big it would get! The raffle raised almost $30,000!

Before we drew the names at the raffle, Steve and his wife, Peggy, said a few words. He talked about how he was overwhelmed by the response from people. Peggy talked about how it made the last 20 years of his work seemed validated. To me it seemed really simple. You can't put a price on joy. A beautiful custom built bike makes joy in a person's life. Think of all of the happiness he has created for people, not just by making nice bikes, but by being a good person--someone down-to-earth who listens and creates. It's only karma paying him back. Now if that isn't a Merry Christmas, I don't know what one is.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

These are the Days of the Peloton

yet another episode...

Yesterday I piled on the usual winter layers for the 45 minute ride to Midtown Sac for the River Ride. I felt pretty good after a good night's rest and being loaded up on way too much junk food on the last day of school before winter break. I felt that little squeeze of anxiety when a lot of the big guns showed up -- Jesse Moore, Mike Sayers, Chad Gerlach, etc. and I realized a little north wind was blowing. "This could hurt", I thought. My buddy McCaw asked, smiling, on the roll out "Are you going to hang on?" I pantomimed holding onto my handlebars as hard as I could. I used all of my wheel-sucking powers and remembered what Sarah Bamberger said about suffering "is all in your head"

I made it through the first sprint. I saw someone make a U-turn without looking, putting a Team City guy into the farm ditch. I stayed with the group for the inner loop until the last left turn on the levee. Damn, that thing always gets me when my legs are hurting at the end of the ride. I came off the levee and dangled precariously off the back, letting a gap build. I spun, remembering not to jam it into a harder gear. I felt a hand on my back pushing me, then pulling my wind vest, and the voice of Dino saying "Dig Deeper". I shouted a few choice words including "help!" I was mad at all the yayhoos behind me not helping fill the gap. It never occurred to me that I could be their only hope. Luckily, the group slowed before the final sprint and Dino came around at the last minute to pull us back into the fold. Victory!! Dino was cheering while I tried to uncross my eyes.